Wiki Commons By János Korom Dr.-, CC BY-SA 2.0,

There are certain ingredients that form the core of Hungarian cuisine. These ingredients can be found in most traditional dishes. Either they give the final touch to the meal to get that perfect taste or form the base of a series of dishes. Either way, in certain cases they have become such integral parts of the nation’s gastronomy that, today, the whole world associates them with Hungary.

One signature ingredient for Hungarians is the ground paprika. It probably came to Hungary during the Ottoman rule but gained popularity only later, in the 19th century. Paprika was hot up until the 1920s when a breeder in Szeged came about a different plant that produced sweet fruit. Now, the most commonly used paprika is the “noble sweet” (édesnemes) that is ever so slightly pungent. It is the most commonly exported paprika from Hungary, with the signature bright red colour.

Goulash soup

Goulash, soup, traditional, Hungarian, food

Perhaps the all-time most well-known Hungarian dish is the goulash soup. This dish has been present since medieval times and is now a national dish of Hungary – a sort of symbol for the country. Several varieties exist; you can make it from beef, pork or lamb, for example. Adding potatoes is optional, and some choose to add white wine to enhance the flavour. Goulash is popular in other Central European countries, too, like Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia, though those versions also differ a bit. No matter which variety you choose, you will fall in love.

For the recipe, click HERE.

Chicken paprikash / paprikás csirke

Photo: Wiki Commons By stu_spivack

The name already gives away how crucial paprika is to this recipe. Its colour carries the undeniable signs of paprika and sour cream, a delicious Hungarian mixture. Nokedli, sort of dumpling-like, boiled egg noodles, usually accompany this dish, although some choose to eat it simply with pasta or even rice as they are easier to prepare. Like goulash soup, chicken paprikash is also a well-known and loved dish in Hungary. In fact, it is so characteristic of the area that Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula, features it as a dish consumed on a journey through the Carpathian Mountains.

For the recipe, click HERE.

Catfish stew

catfish stew cottage cheese pasta

Catfish stew makes use of the many catfish, a white freshwater fish, that is available in the rivers and lakes of Hungary – the River Tisza is an especially good place to catch catfish in Hungary. The recipe, of course, contains paprika to give it its signature flavour, and you are free to add a good amount of sour cream on top – another Hungarian favourite. If you want a break from meat but still crave the taste of a nice, paprika-infused Hungarian dish, this meal is for you. There are numerous restaurants both in Budapest and in the countryside, too, if you want it to be made by professionals.

Or, you can prepare it at home; click HERE for the recipe.

Hungarian cottage cheese spread / körözött

spread, paprika, körözött

Homemade spreads are a great alternative if you want something quick and easy but still crave the taste of Hungarian cuisine. Traditionally, this Hungarian cottage cheese spread uses two kinds of cottage cheese as well as two kinds of paprika – sweet and hot -, resulting in the signature orange colour. The excellent thing about it is that you can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks even and only whip it out when you feel like it. Eat it with fresh bread, toast or a rice cake alternative – there is practically no right or wrong here.

You can find a recipe HERE.

Potato paprikash / paprikás krumpli

paprikas krumpli, recipe, hungarian

Last but not least, another all-time-favourite. Potato paprikash is not only delicious but also easy to make, as you can just put all the ingredients in one large bowl and you are basically done. Several Hungarian favourites reappear here, like potatoes, sausages, bacon and, of course, lots of paprika to make it tasty. Another great thing about it is that, since you can cook it all together in one bowl, you can easily make it outside, in a “bogrács”, following the Hungarian traditions of outdoor cooking. This way, it is also an excellent team building and bonding experience.

For the recipe, click HERE.

Featured image: Wiki Commons By János Korom Dr.

Source: Daily News Hungary

1 comment
  1. The last one is not Paprikas Krumpli someone made a mistake.. It looks like Gulyas..

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